Best sample packs of the month: March 2023
We’ve rounded up an exciting bunch of sample releases that have caught our eye this month.
There’s a fine selection of sample libraries and instruments for you to check out this month, including packs of rare analogue synths, modern indie rock riffs, ethnic percussion, a dynamic, cinematic orchestra, funky vocals and more.
- READ MORE: Best freeware of the month: March 2023
Spitfire Audio – Albion: Colossus
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Spitfire Audio describes this as its most epic-sounding library yet, which is a bold claim considering the British developer’s stunning back catalogue. Albion: Colossus is a complete toolkit for crafting suspenseful and dramatic, cinematic scores.
Featuring two complete orchestras, heavy chugging guitars, hard-hitting percussion, and widescreen synths, Albion: Colossus’ unique new feature is the Scale, Depth and Hype sliders. These can be used alongside the volume and expression faders to create highly dynamic-sounding performances and transitions. The Scale function will seamlessly expand the size of the ensemble, while Depth moves from the close signal to far and ambient, and Hype enhances each preset with a carefully selected chain of processors to make everything sound bigger. However, be warned: it’s a whopping 110GB download.
SampleScience – The Bells
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Whether you’re writing trap or modern classical music, why not try something a little unique for the lead sound in your next track?
SampleScience’s free The Bells includes 15 tuned bells with a mix of real acoustic bell sounds, re-synthesised acoustic bell, FM synthesis and physical modelling. The plugin version comes with a multi-LFO, low-pass and high-pass filter, amp controls, three voice modes and distortion, reverb, chorus and delay effects. It’s also available for the full version of Kontakt 5/6/7, or for the free Decent sampler.
Wrong Tools – With the Lows
- €59 (requires Kontakt 6.4.2+)
- Download Wrong Tools
When it comes to synth bass, it’s tough to beat the speaker-rattling fatness and harmonics you get from pure analogue synthesizers. Wrong Tools has captured a range of sounds including vintage test equipment, audio oscillators, modular systems and analogue synths.
The 26 different sources in With The Lows were recorded through a vintage Neve preamp directly into an AD Lavry converter at 96kHz, and the 252 patches are sorted into nine banks of sounds. You also get an additional channel strip with EQ, mono/stereo-width and more, plus a Sculpt tool that triggers a combination of modulators, grains and randomisations to highlight and enhance certain timbres. Other features include random sample start, round robin, and custom-made impulse responses.
Mind Flux – Lofi Melodic House
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For its latest release, Mind Flux has turned its attention to the deeper and more melodic side of house music. The Lofi Melody House pack includes 134 loops with a range of chunky basslines, moving pads, soaring leads and arps, and tight drum patterns.
Mind Flux employed a wide range of analogue synths and drum machines, including the Roland TR-707, SH-101 TR-505, and Juno 6, alongside several Moog synths. Each loop has been processed through a carefully selected chain of preamps, pedals and various other outboard gear to give a production-ready sound – with a welcome touch of lo-fi warmth.
Frontline Producer – High Fusion Indie Rock
- £24.95 (Loopcloud-ready)
- Download Frontline Producer
Frontline Producer’s pack of five song construction kits blends modern indie riffs with classic rock sounds. You’ll hear influences from bands like Arctic Monkeys and Oasis, through to Sonic Youth and Pixies.
There are 95 loops in total, which cover scorching electric guitar riffs, chugging bass, and stadium-sized drums, alongside mix-filling organ and synth parts. Tempos range from 80 to 182 bpm, and you also get 61 one-shot hits that can be used to craft new riffs.
Loopmasters – ZeroZero Analog D&B Synths & Pads
- £17.95 (Loopcloud-ready)
- Download Loopmasters
Analogue synths are perhaps not as synonymous with drum ‘n’ bass as, say, house music. But the rich sounds they produce are perfect for the energetic genre.
D‘n’B duo ZeroZero, who have had releases on prestigious labels such as Ram, CIA, Dispatch and Sofa Sound, have teamed up with Loopmasters for a new pack of weighty basses, deep, evolving pads, and light synth sequences. You’ll find 50 loops at 174 bpm, plus 92 hits that can be used for any subgenre of D‘n’B where you want to add some additional analogue depth.
BandLab Sounds – Hardware Tops
- Download BandLab Sounds
BandLab Sounds has been ramping up its free sample pack releases recently, so be sure to check out the site to see what you can grab.
The pack that caught our eye this month is Hardware Tops, a collection of 100 percussive top loops with a range of hats, rides, and noises that have been heavily processed in weird and wonderful ways. It’s not the kind of pack that will provide song-starting hooks, but is a useful toolkit of interesting rhythmic layers that could be used to add a little special sauce to whatever you’re working on. The tempos range from 87 to 140 bpm, so it’s relatively flexible.
Soundiron – Rhythmic Origins
- $119 (requires Kontakt 6.5.3+)
- Download Soundiron
Soundiron’s comprehensively multi-sampled library captures 73 different ethnic percussion instruments from UK percussionist David Oliver’s globe-spanning collection. The sources of Rhythmic Origins include bass drums, calabash, box drums, large and small hand drums, metal, tonal, wood and more, with a range of playing styles and articulations.
The files come as an open, 30GB+ library but, to get the most out of it, you’ll need the full version of NI Kontakt. This will give you controls over swell, attack, release, offset, vibrato, filter, pitch (coarse & fine), articulation switching, cross-fading and layering, and more, plus a modular effects rack with 27 different DSP effects.
Vital Vocals – Funkadelic Vocals
- Download Vital Vocals
Add some authentic funk to your tracks with Vital Vocals’ Funkadelic Vocals pack unsurprisingly inspired by the legendary funk rock band, Funkadelic.
There are 193 loops across four song kits to dissect, with tempos ranging from 81 to 92 bpm. You can expect to find sung male phrases, layered loops, spoken word, adlibs, group chants, harmonies, and some lovely-sounding mixed vocal ensembles that could be used to help glue a backing track together. The performances range from high-sung parts to deep voice phrases so it could be used to add funk energy to a variety of genres.
Loopmasters – Nite Fleit – Acid Electro
- £24.95 (Loopcloud-ready)
- Download Loopmasters
This new Loopmasters pack from rapid-rising star Nite Fleit provides a genre-bending mashup of retro club beats and modern electro and acid sounds.
There are 111 loops at 130 to 140 bpm, which cover solid and cavernous-sounding drums and percussion, lush arps and pads, resonant synth and bass sequences and more. There are also 134 one-shot drum, percussion, bass, pad and sound effect hits so you can craft your own riffs. If you’re looking for some more leftfield-sounding loops, then this could be a useful collection to dive into.
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